Tango Argentino > Closed embrace: thumbs up or down?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by MadamSamba, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. MadamSamba

    MadamSamba Member

    Hi, guys! Just wondering how you all feel about the close embrace.

    Obviously it looks great, feels great and adds to the AT's charm, but it's not for everybody and, personally, I'm not terribly keen dancing it with everyone, certainly not with strangers, but many, many people don't seem to have an issue with it.

    What's your preference and what do you say when your parter wants to (and you don't) or vice versa? That's assuming your partner is a complete stranger.
  2. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I think dancing close embrace helps improve salon style too. I've noticed that a short spell of close embrace when I teach gets everyone communicating alot better.

    I don't do it very well, but I enjoy both styles. I think as a matter of gentlemanly courtesy the woman sets the distance at which she wishes to dance. I don't have a problem dancing close embrace with a stranger and ewven with my limited abilty we both can have a nice dance. Also close embrace is essentila for Milonga
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hmm. Close embrace? Salon style? I've been reading a lot about this, but haven't gotten clear definitions anywhere. Care to elaborate, anyone?
  4. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    close embrace

    Tango de Salon An elegant and very social style of tango characterized by slow, measured, and smoothly executed moves. It includes all of the basic tango steps and figures plus sacadas, giros, and boleos. The emphasis is on precision, smoothness, and elegant dance lines. The dancing couple do not embrace as closely as in older styles and the embrace is flexible, opening slightly to make room for various figures and closing again for support and poise.

    I understood this to be synonymous with close-embrace;
    Tango Liso Literally, tango smooth: A way of dancing tango characterized by its lack of fancy figures or patterns. Only the most “basic” tango steps and figures such as caminadas, ochos, molinetes, etc., are utilized. Boleos, ganchos, sacadas, sentadas, and other fancy moves and acrobatics are not done. A very early term for Tango de Salon.

    Definitions are from Ed Loomis' page but I've lost the link.
  5. MadamSamba

    MadamSamba Member

    Yeah, Bordertangoman, I agree, dancing in close embrace does improve the style and look of a dance, but, goodness, it's uncomfortable if you're a girl not wanting to be cheek-to-cheek with a stranger (or strange man).

    I enjoy it thoroughly with people I know and don't feel awkward with and I'm so glad you worry about things like gentlemanly courtesy, many "gentlemen" don't and use a horrid kind of death-grip on the female, forcing her a lot closer than she wishes to be.

    I've given up and when a guy doesn't get my hints, I just wait for an ocho or such and return to open hold. Of course, within a few steps I'm usually being suffocated again, but beginners can't be choosers, gosh darnit!! :)

    Jenn, Bordertangoman's descriptions are spot on (Bordertangoman, I'm in Australia and now and then we seem to use different lingo for various moves and dances) for what I was talking about. The only point I find to be different is that closed embrace doesn't seem to be mandatory at milongs, but they are quite common.
  6. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    close embrace

    Self-defence for women: if you don't wish to dance close embrace
    with a man then don't. I don't know how this would go down in BA where it may be expected but here in UK it is not a requirement. A gentleman's arm is there on your back to instill security and confidence not to pin you to him.

    Short of deploying martial arts (a good kick to shins causes maximum pain with minimum actual damage; fingers to throat, or an arm lock) I suggesting feigning incompetence; tread on his toes frequently, start off on the wrong foot etc if anything that comes naturally to a beginner. Alternativly step back until you get the distance you require.
    Act like a rag doll relying totally on him to keep you upright, just relax totally and flop. Just like an unconscious person is difficult to lift you will become as awkward to manage as a drunk.

    If all else fails: a knee to the groin will get you out of an unwanted clinch!
  7. MadamSamba

    MadamSamba Member

    Or an errant gancho. :)
  8. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Closer the embrace the better a dancer one has to be. Or, at least that has been my experience.
  9. voilsb

    voilsb New Member

    Another option for follower-self-defense would be to keep your left arm on his shoulder where it would be in salon style, and actively push yourself back some. Anyone except incompetant leads should be able to see that's a hint for more space and accomodate you.

    As for the original question, I love close embrace, with total strangers or with people I know better. I just stink at it; then again, I'm not too great of a tango dancer period.
  10. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I would agree with that. I found dancing close embrace almost impossible and very limiting at first compared to an open embrace. It is more demanding in terms of balance and axis control and where do you put your legs without banging your partners knees. It was through learning milonga that I became better.

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